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DIY Spirograph

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RECOMMENDED AGE LEVEL

Recommended for ages 5 and up with adult supervision.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

Spirograph sets are a geometric drawing activity, first sold in 1965, which produce artistic, elliptical roulette curves. To create repeated curves, a small shape with geared edges moves repetitively around the inside of a larger, geared shape. Create your own household version of a spirograph and read more about its engineering and history! In honor of Earth Day, get inspired by this video illustration of the Earth and Venus orbiting around the Sun.  

MATERIALS

Corrugated cardboard 

Scissors 

Scotch tape roll or other empty, round form 

Pens in various colors 

Small circular “stencils” (plastic and glass  

shown here)  

Medium to thick rubber band 

Hole punch if available 

Blank paper

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Trace a circular shape onto corrugated cardboard,  using a round shape as a “stencil.” Make sure your shape is only half the size of your tape roll or smaller. One is fine, or trace two different small sizes.
  • Cut out your circle using scissors.
  • Carefully punch a hole in your cardboard using scissor points. The hole should not be right in the middle – try making it off to the side. Do not point the scissors toward yourself or your fingers at any time – set your cardboard on a work surface and firmly push and twist. Try using a hole punch if you have one.
  • Make one or two more holes in different places on the cardboard. When your holes are finished, they should be big enough for the tip of a pen to go through.
  • Wrap your rubber band around the outside of your cardboard disc. It doesn’t have to be pretty – the rubber band will create friction between the inside of the tape and the moving disc. The rubber band should cover the whole corrugated edge, and fit tightly without bending the cardboard.
  • Set your disc on an inside edge of the tape roll, and choose a hole and position to start. Put your pen in and start rolling the disc carefully around the inside of the tape. Hold the tape roll completely still while you do this.
  • Give yourself some practice time! Try out different colors, holes, and positions.

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UPCOMING EVENTS

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